tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC May 15, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
captioned by closed captioning services inc. tonight on "world news," bombshell charges. one of the world's most powerful men tonight accused of attacking a hotel housekeeper, right here in new york city. police pulling him from his first class seat moments before taking off for france, charged with chasing that worker down a hotel hallway and sexually attacking her. desperate measures. homeowners now going to extremes, wrapping their homes to save them from that wall of water headed their way. flood gates now open. what next? mike huckabee makes it official, he's out. and so, tonight, who are the republicans trying to get into the race? and who did laura bush call? and, standing tall. with 15,000 people watching, including his devoted mom, the young man who was about to earn far more than that diploma.
good evening on this sunday. and we begin tonight with a high profile arrest here in new york. now sending shockwaves far beyond this country. one of the world's most powerful men, in fact, he hoped to be the next president of france, was marched off a plane here in new york moments before takeoff and charged with sexual assault. his nickname in france is the great seducer, and tonight, he is accused of chasing a hotel worker down a hall and sexually attacking her. bianna golodryga is in downtown manhattan this evening. bianna, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, david. it is quite a dramatic fall from grace for the man who you described as one of the most powerful figures in the world. arguably one of the most powerful financial leaders, at that. well, tonight, dominique strauss-kahn is expected to arrive at this courthouse behind me within the next hour or so. he's facing charges of unlawful imprisonment, performing a criminal sexual act and attempted rape. his name is dominique strauss-kahn, but like many powerful men, his initials are enough, known around the world
as dsk. the organization he runs, also just three initials. imf. international monetary fund. based in washington, it oversees the entire global financial system. dsk was used to luxury and power. he was staying in a $3,000 a night suite at this manhattan hotel, with more rooms than many apartments in this city. a housekeeper at that hotel tells police dsk came out of the bathroom naked, chased her through those rooms, attempted to force her to perform a sex act and tried to tear off her underwear. she broke free, setting off a chain of events worthy of a crime drama. hotel officials called the police, but before they arrived, dsk was gone. police said initially it looked like he left quickly, leaving behind his cell phone and some other personal items. he was tracked to the airport. he had already boarded a flight to paris, just minutes from takeoff. police boarded the plane and took him away.
another passenger reports it happened quietly. he looked up and dsk was gone. taken to a cell in manhattan. dsk, 62, lives with his american-born wife, his third wife, at this home in washington. she's one of france's most prominent television journalists. he was widely expected to leave his washington job next year to return to france and run for president. his political career now far less bright. dsk had a reputation in france as a ladies man, called the great seducer. he admitted to an affair with a subordinate. but in france and around the world tonight, as these headlines show, there is shock that this seducer is now charged with sexual assault. his lawyer says his client will plead not guilty and, david, he does not have diplomatic immunity. bianna, thank you. and police say the accuser now has picked dsk out of a lineup. and his wife is issuing a statement tonight, saying she does not believe, for a single second, in the accusations
against her husband and that she is certain of his innocence. but we move on tonight and to the flood waters rising, after those newly opened flood gates on the mississippi river. in louisiana this evening, across that vast expanse, that water released by the flood gates is now beginning to arrive. yunji de nies is in louisiana, where she met families taking extreme measures tonight, literally wrapping their homes to save them. yunji? >> reporter: good evening, david. as you can see, this is quite a big river right here. this is one of the waterways that normally would be a lot drier. the bank is actually supposed to be right there at that tree line. but the water from that morgan spillway is now flowing here and it is rising fast. it could soon swallow this town. sunrise, with the river rising way too fast, thanks to the open flood gates. >> i couldn't watch for very long. i watched for about five minutes and i just left. >> reporter: st. martin parish's president couldn't bear to watch them open, because he knew it meant this town and so many others would drown.
how high do you think it will be right where we are? >> you and i, our heads will definitely be under the water. this water right here, in the next four days, will definitely be on top of us. >> reporter: the sign outside kate buchanan's bar says it all. she stands to lose her business and her home. she's shipping out her stuff, but planning to stay. >> they forecast the worst, the worst case scenario, and, i'm just one of those, you know -- >> reporter: optimists? >> yeah. and let's see it. >> reporter: she's got her kayak ready, just in case. >> and these folks are made of much sterner stuff here. we're not going to whine and cry. >> reporter: but they are going to try just about anything to keep the water out. ron angel is wrapping his house in plastic. >> i put some b screen to block the water. and i came back and i put some sand to hold it back.
>> reporter: they say the water is going to be taller than the two of us. how is this going to make a difference? >> yeah, but they got different levels. we may be higher than where they telling you 15 feet, maybe three feet here. >> reporter: at the center of town, sandbagging is in full swing for people to fortify their homes. one man even built his own levee. desperate measures for desperate times. >> it really is heartwrenching that we here are going to be sacrificed for others. it's a numbers game, i guess. >> reporter: and even when the river crests, the worst won't be over. the crest is supposed to last for ten days, so once the houses flood, they could be wet for weeks. david? >> all right, yunji, that one family hoping with the plastic up their house. our thanks to you. and in town after town tonight, they are preparing for the waters unleashed by the flood gates. cynthia cisneros of abc's ktrk is in krotz springs, louisiana, tonight. where all eyes are on one key levee. cynthia? >> reporter: david, this is the levee that neighbors are pinning their hopes on, hoping it will
not break. on the other side of that tree line is the atchafalaya river, which has been rising steadily. and on this side of the levee are homes that people have already moved out of. their hope is that they can return, their hopes not flooded. they just don't know. david? >> cynthia, thank you tonight. now, to the dramatic reshaping of the presidential race tonight, after mike huckabee announced this weekend he's not running. the former governor had a large following, especially among evangelical voters. so, who do the republicans want to run instead? even former first lady laura bush making calls. here's clayton sandell. >> reporter: after joining ted nugent for a bit of rocking out, mike huckabee decided that when it comes to a presidential run, he is staying out. >> my answer is clear and firm. i will not seek the republican nomination for president this year. >> reporter: huckabee is popular. ahead in many polls, despite never being in the race. he's now the latest republican to say no to running against
president obama. thinning a pool of candidates and leaving gop voters with no clear front-runner. >> all the factors say go. but my heart says no. >> reporter: polls show 45% of republican voters don't like their current choices. speaking to abc's jonathan karl, even house speaker john boehner is lukewarm. >> you satisfied with this field? >> it's a wide open presidential primary. i'm not sure that we've seen all the candidates we're going to see. >> reporter: the short list includes former massachusetts governor mitt romney and former house speaker newt gingrich. contenders with political and personal baggage. >> i have made mistakes in my life. >> reporter: the gop's desire for electable candidates has led former first lady laura bush to join the recruiting effort, urging indiana governor mitch daniels to run bybying his wife. and there may be new pressure on reluctant republicans like new jersey governor chris christie to jump into the game. >> this is the nfl now. you got to be ready to hit the
ground running and you're going to get some hits, too. i mean, the second you put yourself out there, you got a whole bunch of people who are going to come right after you to tackle you. >> reporter: now, a few of those gop contenders will be descending on states like new hampshire and iowa this week. as for mike huckabee, he says he has not decided who to endorse yet. david? >> clayton sandell, thank you. in florida this evening, they're making final preparations for the last launch of the shuttle "endeavor" tomorrow. emotions are high, not only because this is the final liftoff, but because of who will be flying it, but who is watching him lift off. congresswoman gabrielle giffords will be there. and our bob woodruff is also there tonight. good evening, bob. >> reporter: good evening, david. we know she landed about noon today, she's kept out of the public eye since she arrived from houston. but now she's going to be watching this launch tomorrow, with her family, right on top of that roof of launch control. the clock is counting down, liftoff scheduled for 8:56 tomorrow morning.
it's estimated half a million people have come here to witness the launch, including congresswoman gabrielle giffords, whose husband mark kelly will command the mission. >> she's been working really hard to make sure that her doctors would permit her to come. >> reporter: the shuttle was supposed to take off two weeks ago, but the launch was scrubbed for a mechanical problem. so, this is the second time giffords has made the journey from houston, where she's undergoing rehabilitation after being shot in january. >> it seems, you know, she understands everything, i mean, if not everything, almost everything. so, she's really there. she follows directions. she laughs at jokes, recognizes friends. >> reporter: after 25 flights, this is the last time "endeavor" will ever visit space. and coming up in july, "atlantis," nasa's final space shuttle mission. >> the space shuttle was like the first great space pickup truck and it always will be. it's just an amazing vehicle. >> reporter: "endeavor" will deliver a cosmic ray detector to
the space station, which scientists hope will give them a glimpse into the very first moments of the universe. just after the big bang. >> it's looking for dark matter, dark energy and any matter. these are some of the things that existed in the early part of the universe. >> reporter: well, this morning, the launch is certainly on schedule. the crew is asleep. they'll be waking up at midnight tonight, followed by breakfast at 12:30 and at 4:41 in the morning, they'll be suiting up. and i should tell you, david, they're all going to be wearing these bracelets in support of gabby's recovery. david? >> bob, thank you. and you can watch tomorrow's launch live right here on abc news, liftoff, as bob said there a moment ago, is scheduled for 8:56 a.m. eastern time. a big moment for so many reasons. but we turn overseas tonight, and senator john kerry in pakistan, delivering a, quote, sober message to pakistani leaders, two weeks now after the navy s.e.a.l.s found and killed osama bin laden
there. kerry said this is a, quote, critical moment, in relations with pakistan, which he said must do a better job helping the u.s. fight terrorism or lose u.s. aid. now to the middle east, and an unprecedent eed wave of protesters along israel's borders by palestinians. at least 15 palestinians were shot dead, many of them as they tried to storm the border. our reporter was caught in the middle of it all, and here's alex marquardt's report tonight. >> reporter: they came from all sides, tens of thousands, angrily marched on israel from the north, east and south. on the border with syria, an unprecedented incursion that left at least four dead and rattled israel. "we hope calm and quiet will return quickly," said israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. "but nobody should be mistaken. we're determined to defend our borders." at the lebanese border, thousands of palestinian refugees demanded the right to return to land now in israel. at least ten were killed when they tried to cross.
in gaza, demonstrators got closer to the israeli border than ever before. and in the west bank, palestinians clashed with israeli soldiers. there are protests every year like this on may 15th, but this year's are far more passionate than in years past. inspired, these protesters tell us, by the uprisings in the arab world. >> i don't think the palestinians are any different than anyone else. >> reporter: the young palestinian protesters rushed forward, throwing rocks like this one at the israeli soldiers who are just 100 yards away. the israelis respond with volleys of tear gas like this, which pushes the palestinians back. >> i know like everyone in the arab countries are waking up, everyone. and they are all supporting us. >> reporter: it's too soon to tell if today's events will turn into something bigger. but what's clear is that short of war, israeli-palestinian relations couldn't be any worse. alex marquardt, abc news, in the west bank. >> our thanks to alex tonight.
still ahead on "world news" this sunday, so many retailers now pushing back against customers taking coupons to the extreme. is that fair? should shoppers be punished for their own winning strategy? in one small alabama town devastated by those tornadoes, survivors move into homes. and this weekend, they have also saved something else. and then tonight, the student who was about to stun thousands watching him, his diploma waiting, and so was his champion, his mom. your advertising mail campaign is paying off! business is good! it must be if you're doing all that overnight shipping. that must cost a fortune. it sure does. well, if it doesn't have to get there overnight, you can save a lot with priority mail flat rate envelopes. one flat rate to any state, just $4.95. that's cool and all... but it ain't my money. i seriously do not care... so, you don't care what anyone says, you want to save this company money!
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they bag trophies of toothpaste and toilet paper that adorn their walls like deer antlers. many coupon bloggers say the reality show isn't reality at all. >> if there's a coupon for a particular product that is more expensive, i have a sneaking suspicion that some of those are being used for a less expensive product. and that's terrible. >> reporter: especially now that there's a renewed sense of need. in this old fashioned way to save. since the u.s. financial crisis hit in 2008, coupon use has spiked almost 30%. last year alone, shoppers saved a whopping $3.7 billion with coupons. but the coupon information corporation says the tlc series creates unrealistic expectations about coupons and promotes the misuse of them. as a result, supermarkets are feeling the pinch, and the people who rely on coupons in this tough economy are being punished. >> my local grocery store has made some changes. >> reporter: several retailers are limiting the number of
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women, donated dresses from all over the country. we met lisa, standing in the exact dress she hoped to wear all along, this one donated after the one she bought was destroyed with everything else. >> the dress was in the mud. >> reporter: the boys' tuxes given to them, too. and the limos pride providing the free ride to dinner. and the arrivals, the smiles that have replaced so much of the pain here. and the dance. a welcome break from the reality these high school students face. they so deserve it. when we come back here, a graduation moment like you have never seen. and the next day i pay for it. i tried decongestants... i tossed & turned... i even vaporized! and then i fought back: with drug-free breathe right advanced. these nasal strips instantly opened my nose, like a breath of fresh air. i was breathing and sleeping better! [ female announcer ] exercise your right to breathe right... get two free strips at breatheright.com.
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ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. and finally tonight here, graduation season is here. hundreds of thousands of students proudly walking across that stage. but there were seven steps this weekend unlike any other. austin whitney had just graduated from high school, a straight a student, when he was behind the wheel of his car, he crashed. he had been drinking. he survived it, but doctors told him a severed spinal cord meant he would never walk again. he was devastated, not only for himself, but for the parents he let down.
>> after my car accident, i was so consumed by my hatred for myself. i put my family and everyone i knew through so much pain, all for nothing. and i said, austin, you have to find some meaning in this accident. >> reporter: and so within days of leaving that hospital, he was off to college. eventually transferring to the university of california at berkeley. and it was there he learned of a research team developing what's called an exo-skeleton. originally meant to help american factory workers, looking to carry a heavier load. >> the thing is twisting a little. >> reporter: and it was right there at the lab, more than three years after that accident, that determined son would stand up for the first time. >> wow. it really happened. i am not in a wheelchair. >> reporter: his goal all along was to finish college on time, in four years, to make his parents proud. and this weekend, that moment arrived. in front of 15,000 people, austin stood up and took that first step. then, another.
then, another. his mother couldn't believe what she was seeing. seven steps across that stage, with his mom waiting right beside that diploma. >> austin whitney. >> reporter: and from austin himself, perhaps, his biggest lesson of all. >> it really makes me very, very reluctant to ever use that word, impossible. ever, ever again. >> incredible to watch. his mom cheering him on there and we are from here in new york. and that is "world news" for this sunday night. we're always online at abcnews.com. "gma" first thing in the morning. and diane sawyer right back here tomorrow night. good night.
>> alan: the 100 numb annual bay to breakers, still a foot race, still a party. while most people say this year'd crowd was better behaved, police officers made self reaftz. >> reporter: there was dancing, costumes, and naked men, in many ways it was the same bay to breakers it has always been, with one twist. for the partiers who managed to make it to the top of the hill, this was waiting for them. a line of police officers on the lookout for anyone with an open container, no exceptions. they snuck out beer but that wasn't all. there was a no, alcohol and no-floats